Interviewed in Istanbul, March 31th 2007
The cosmopolitan intellectual Han Tümertekin, at home in Istanbul as in Paris, speaks much rather of the identity of the architect than of architecture of identity. He put contrasts into context, sometimes even sharp cuts, thus creating his own context. His works are exploring the relationship between programme (brief) and form, the programme (brief) being located within wall confined cavities. Tümertekin’s houses in the Aegean – SM house, B2 house, which won the Aga-Khan award and the renovation projects in the Istanbul city center, they are all radical in their reductions, but at the same time they change their surroundings very carefully and surpass it.
ORIS: A big part of contemporary architecture is about signature architecture, landmarks, branding and things like that. Image is the most important thing of all, especially in places like China. Just the other day I attended a lecture in Vienna by Pauline, an Australian architect, from the Sydney-based practice PTW. They won the competition for a swimming centre just opposite the stadium by Herzog and de Meuron. They designed a big, bubble structure, which was statically a successful thing, because the whole bearing structure is a part of the outer skin. Their office has some hundred people in Sydney, another hundred perhaps in China and so on, and they’re not the only ones. These global tendencies and influences, are they something you should care about?
Tümertekin: Regarding global trends, I’m more interested in the way other architects think about and do things, the process itself, more than the final product. I really don’t mind about the results at the beginning of the process, and I put aside the global competition on the market. I believe that if I develop my own approach to architecture, I don’t need to know what other people do. Of course, all the architects in the world are oppressed by the competition. The magazines mostly publish buildings with large budgets, yet architecture is more than building landmarks. I’m much more interested in daily life, not only in architecture. I like daily life. I find many interesting things in it.